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Posted April 1, 2011
I first read this book when I was maybe 14 years old. My copy disappeared and off and on over the years I tried to find another copy to see if it was as good as I remembered. I was pleased to find it as a B&N Nook book and promptly downloaded it. The story concerns a group of mutated humans who arose after the Blowup, a nuclear war presumably taking place not long after WWII. The mutants are notable for two features--total lack of hair anywhere on the body, and telepathic ability. They are known by normal humans and by themselves as Baldies. The novel, which is actually a series of novellas tied together by a stranded human remembering Baldy history while awaiting rescue, covers the problems Baldies have had interacting with non-telepathic humans and how the problems were solved. Since Baldies can read anyone's mind, they are naturally prohibited from certain types of employment or activities lest they derive an unfair advantage--for example, most sports activities or games such as chess are impossible for Baldies because they always know what the opponent will do before he does it. Baldies fall into two groups...normal, sane baldies who strive to get along with normal humans, and are working to bring the gift of telepathy to all. Some baldies are born insane; these generally play no role in the novel, with one minor exception. The third group are the paranoids. They are sane, but believe normal humans are inferior and destined to be ruled or destroyed by Baldies. They are constantly seeking to stir up trouble so that normal humans will start an anti-Baldy pogrom which will be an excuse to wipe humans out and take over. The normal Baldies are continually trying to fend off the pogroms and defeat the paranoids. The novellas are all very well-written with well-defined characters. The relationship between the Baldies and normal humans makes sense as described in the book--the reader can well understand that this is the way things might work out if such a mutation occurred in our world. The only negative part of the book is that the tie-in between the novellas (which span several decades) is rather weak and does not add anything to the story. All in all, highly recommended. It was indeed as good as I remembered it from 40 years ago.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.